An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Ben Resnick, director of food services/head chef

Phanaeng curry with chicken:

One of my favorite dishes that I get to cook at Lakeside is Phanaeng curry. We make our own red curry paste in the kitchen and fortify the sauce with extra fresh ginger, lime leaves, and lemongrass. Since it is ingredient and labor intensive, the recipe includes a good substitute red curry paste found in most stores under the brand Mae Ploy. To reduce the fat the content in the sauce we add our house made roasted chicken stock to the coconut milk which adds richness to the traditionally sweet flavor of Phanaeng curry. We roast our chicken instead of pan searing it which makes it healthier (and if making it at home will keep your kitchen a bit cleaner).

You'll need:

2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced chicken breast
2 cups Thai coconut milk (reserve 2 tablespoons to use as a garnish)
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons red curry paste (Mae Ploy brand)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1-2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
3-4 kaffir lime leaves finely shredded
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil thinly sliced or hand torn
1 big red chili, sliced
1 tablespoon finely crushed/diced lemongrass
¼ cup snow peas cut in half or English peas

Toss diced chicken breast in oil. Roast in 400-degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. In a medium sauce pot, add fresh ginger, lemongrass, curry paste. Cook for two minutes, then add chicken stock, coconut milk, palm sugar, and lime leaves. Bring to simmer and reduce for 20 minutes or desired consistency. Add chicken, fish sauce, Thai basil, chili, and peas. Serve over steamed Jasmine rice.

Yellow curry (vegan option):

To reduce the carbon footprint at Lakeside, we instituted Meatless Mondays several years ago. One of our more popular vegan dishes is a yellow curry with tofu. We use locally sourced Spring Island Organics tofu produced on Vashon Island. In addition to the local ingredients, we bake the tofu slightly to keep the flavor and texture intact. This also reduces the amount fat instead of the traditional method of pan frying or shallow wok frying the tofu.

You'll need:

1 Tbsp. coconut or olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
2-3 Tbsp. Yellow Curry Paste (Mae Ploy Brand)
Pinch cayenne or 1 dried red chili, diced
2 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1 cup veggie stock
2 Tbsp. palm sugar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/3 cup snow peas or English peas
1/3 cup Thai basil
1-2 cups large diced extra firm tofu

Heat 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil or olive oil in a sauce pot. Add onion, garlic, and fresh ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. Add yellow curry paste and cook for another two minutes. Add vegetable stock, palm sugar, and coconut milk. Slowly bring to a simmer for 20 minutes or desired consistency. Toss diced tofu in 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil, bake in pre-heated 450-degree oven for five minutes. Add Thai basil and raw English peas to sauce. In a separate bowl, toss the tofu and sauce, and serve over steamed Jasmine rice.